Member WEBLetter, October 2022

Nick Manicone. Photo by Chip Gertzog

President’s Message

Dear Providence Players Members, 

Welcome to the Providence Players of Fairfax’s Twenty-Fifth season! This is a significant milestone for us and one we’re eager to celebrate with our PPF family of audiences and members. PPF started as a group of Mantua Elementary School PTA parents who, after years of supporting their children, wanted to put on their own play. Our company has now grown far beyond its original neighborhood and founders and, with each year, we have committed to expanding our audiences while bringing affordable theater to new and diverse communities.
We are proud to look back on all we’ve accomplished. During our quarter-of-a-century run, we have mounted more than 80 productions and staged everything from Shakespeare to Sondheim, Mamet to Christie. We have also endeavored to provide a wide range of programming, including new, challenging, lesser-known plays and this year, a cabaret for the holidays. With every production we’ve tried to keep the faith by always providing quality theater.
The success of these productions has been due to our active members, patrons, and supporters. However, none of this would be possible without an audience that appreciates what we do and is willing to take a seat in the James Lee Center theater and go along for the ride, wherever it takes us. Our future remains to be written. New audiences and new volunteers with a passion for theater will shape our future. With PPF veterans and new friends joining our team, I am sure that the first twenty-five years will just be Act One.

Best regards,

Nick Manicone 

November, by David Mamet, Opens October 14!

In this quick-moving comedy and satire, President Charles Smith’s chances for reelection are looking grim. It’s November in an election year, approval ratings are down, Chuck’s money is running out, and nuclear war might be imminent. Though his staff has thrown in the towel and his wife has begun to prepare for her post-White House life, Chuck isn’t ready to give up just yet. While in the biggest fight of his political career, the President must find time to pardon a couple of turkeys, saving them from the slaughter before Thanksgiving. This simple PR event inspires Smith to risk it all in an attempt to win back public support.

With Mamet’s characteristic no-holds-barred style, November is a scathingly hilarious take on the state of America today and the lengths to which people will go to win. Warning: This play contains strong language and adult content. Tickets on sale now!

Spotlight: An interview with Jayne L. Victor, Director of November

Jayne L. Victor

There is a cliché in live theater (because it is true), “Dying is easy, comedy is hard.” Yes, all the elements are identical to directing a drama – script, vision, cast, set, etc. but, to paraphrase the Wicked Witch of the West, in comedy “These things must be done delicately.

Our veteran director, Jayne Victor is more than up to the task. While majoring in Theater in college, her focus was Comedic Theater. “I always gravitated toward comedy”. After a hiatus (to do grown-up work) she saw an audition announcement for PPF and joined the cast of Moon Over Buffalo. She loved our company and went on to direct a huge production of Auntie Mame, a reprise of Moon Over Buffalo, and the hilarious Glass Mendacity which was a mash-up of Tennessee William’s plays.

According to comedy sitcom Director Dennie Gordon “Everyone will tell you that directing comedy is definitely harder… It’s also true that we talk about comedy at our peril because it’s elusive and mercurial. And it unravels as soon as you really try to start analyzing it. It’s a very intuitive thing.” Jayne agrees, although she is willing to analyze it. As Michael Donahue, fellow Director (and husband) always says, “What’s on the page is not necessarily what’s on the stage.” Yes, it all begins with the script. For example, Mamet’s script for November was written in 2008 and is a cynical satire of greed and ego in politics. It is also a big challenge. The dialogue is intense, ironic, and raw, with adult language which he used for emphasis. November is also hilarious.

The cast of November, by David Mamet. (L-R) David Whitehead as the Turkey Guy, Matthew Randall as Archer, Michael Donahue as President Charles Smith, Kat Sanchez as Bernstein and Mario Font as Dwight Grackle.  Photo by Chip Gertzog.

According to Jayne, casting is also crucial. “You can’t really make someone funny. You can set up the situation. You can put together the necessary elements. But you cannot make the actor BE funny. Actors either have that instinct and natural timing or they don’t. So, casting the comedy well is essential. These actors have great faces and you need to see the comedy to get the humor.”

“Comedy is not only about the action in the script but also about the reaction. The joke is most often in the reaction. My role as Director is to provide a space for the actors to be as creative and funny as they can be while avoiding caricature.”

“Even though it was written in 2008, this play is so timely. There is so much angst and divisiveness right now. Here is an opportunity to loosen up and laugh at ourselves. What is funny to you may not be what is funny to me – but in our two-hour play, there will be plenty of funny to go around.”

Save the Dates:  Holiday PopUp Production at Italian Café

Cabaret Takes a Holiday is a night of music and storytelling with a holiday flair. Come join us as a group of talented singers interpret Broadway and jazz standards, classic cabaret music and holiday favorites. This special holiday show will be presented as a Pop-Up production at The Italian Café, Providence Players’ favorite restaurant, from December 2 to 11. We promise you a delightful evening filled with joy, music and laughter. Come sing along!

Nostalgia for the Past and Enthusiasm for the Future

Join us Saturday evening January 14, 2023 for this special celebration of Providence Players’ 25th Anniversary. Details to follow!

Reminder, you need to be a member or donor to attend this event.
If you have questions, email us at  Hosted by the Providence Players Board of Directors.

Providence Players:  Behind the Scenes

Roxanne Waite, Tara Tripp, Beth Whitehead and Sarah Mournighan.

Two September events drew our members to Falls Church. We built a fabulous set for November and had a special Happy Hour. The focus for the Happy Hour was to invite members and non-members to learn more about the upcoming season and about volunteer opportunities.

For those of you who were not able to join us, either for the HH or the set build, here is a summary of the interesting and fun ways that you can participate in our productions. Please note that volunteer time can be a few hours or several days – depending on your interest and availability!

Acting: We routinely stage four productions a year at the James Lee Center, as well as an occasional “Pop-Up” production at the Italian Café in Falls Church. The Director oversees this process but, per our policy, no roles are pre-cast and all roles are open. All backgrounds and ethnicities are welcome, and folks are encouraged to audition. Obviously, actors must be available during the rehearsal and performance period.

Deborah Davidson and Jayne L. Victor.

Directing and Stage Management: The PPF Board chooses the Directors for each season but there are opportunities to shadow the Director, Stage Manager and Assistant Stage Manager as they take the production from start to finish. These roles require an extensive time commitment.

Kevin Jahns.

Set Design and Set Construction: We usually have one designer for each show – but require lots of help to build and then strike the set. We ask for RSVPs for the day but also appreciate folks who can drop in for an hour or two. There is plenty to do and we are happy to instruct as we build our sets over a two-day period. Once the set is up, we are always looking for folks to work backstage for a weekend or for the entire run.

Technical elements – Lighting, Sound, Special Effects: These elements can be designed by individuals or by one Tech Director who oversees these activities. There are opportunities to shadow our talented tech team as well as to assist in a day of hanging lights or a weekend of helping run sound and lights in the tech booth during performances.

John Coscia and Chip Gertzog.

And, in addition, we have other opportunities … Set Decoration, Costuming and Props

Set Decoration: In collaboration with the Director, the Set Decorator and assistant(s) usually have a chance to go on a scavenger hunt. This is a different type of creative endeavor that brings our sets to life. Add a day or two of painting and the time required for this is usually short since most furniture must be onstage after the walls of the set are up but early in rehearsal.

Maria Flanigan, Matthew Randall, Mario Font and Chris Persil.

Costuming: In collaboration with the Director, the Costumer and assistant(s) fit the actors then hunt for appropriate wardrobe, accessories and, occasionally, sew to adapt a costume for the play. Assisting does not require much time though we usually have a costumer backstage for performances … just in case…

Props: Prop management can be divided into two phases – acquisition and running the show. Acquisition is another scavenger hunt while running the show is being sure the props are available during the production. Amount of time will vary but is usually limited.

  • Send an email directly to  and we will pass along your interest to the Directors.
  • Complete the Member Interest survey. To get started just click the link below, take 5 minutes, fill out the form and hit send!  We will review your interests and reach out to you when opportunities present themselves.

Click here to fill out the volunteer form.

Member Updates

  • Sarah Baczewski is directing After the Storm for NOVA Nightsky Theater, written by playwright and fellow member Ward Kay.
  • Jason Damaso is closing out a performance as Bill Anderson in Fauquier Community Theatre’s “feel good” production of Mamma Mia. 
  • Sophia Manicone is headed to Broadway in New York City Center’s revival of Parade starring Ben Platt.
  • Allen McRae has been cast in StageCoach Theater’s production of Nightfall with Edgar Allan Poe by Eric Coble.
  • Will MacLeod is featured in, and Ariana MacLeod is Assistant Stage Manager for, Peter and the Starcatcher for Prince William Little Theater.
  • Welcome New members:  Janice Crawford, Marie Flanigan, Tracey Froelich, Jewel Orem, Matthew Randall, Kat Sanchez, and Bryn Stricker.  Welcome to Providence Players!
  • Renewing members include: Danette Illig, Sarah John (and Family), Dana & Ray Koch, Carol McDevitt, Chris Persil, and Thomas Udlock. 
  • If your membership is lapsed and you wish to renew, you can click here.

Final Curtain?

(Have an update you would like to share with your fellow members?  Please send an email to with the subject line “Member Update” and we will include it!)
(In a show with another company?  Join our Facebook Group page.  Share the news!)
Click here to see a list of previous WEBLetters.
WEBLetter Editor:  Tina Hodge Thronson